Deo scores late winner

Nasinu’s Semi Tabaiwalu heads the ball against Tailevu Naitasiri during their Digicel Fiji FACT clash at the ANZ Stadium yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

The Tailevu Naitasiri football side edged Nasinu 2-1 in the opening match of the 2022 Digicel Fiji FACT at Suva’s ANZ Stadium yesterday.

Midfielder Abhishek Deo proved to be the difference, scoring the winning goal in the second minute of the second spell injury time. Tailevu Naitasiri started on a high when Epeli Valevou tapped in a well-timed free kick from Mohammed Naizal in the third minute.

Taniela Rakariva had the best chance to equalise for Nasinu in the first spell when his one-on-one attempt just went wide of the Tailevu Naitasiri’s goal. T/Naitasiri led 1-nil at half-time.

Nasinu coach Nathan Shivam surely had a good half-time talk which saw his side equalise early in the second spell. Nasinu captain Nasoni Mereke found the back of the net from a Semi Rokoqica cross in the 71st minute.

Rakariva nearly put Nasinu in the lead when his strike came off the crossbar.

Just when it looked like the match was going to end in a draw, Deo made a beautiful run inside the T/Naitasiri box and blasted the ball into the roof of the net from point blank range.

Deo said the win was a memorable one for him and his team as this was the first tournament after gaining promotion last season.

“I am glad to have scored in those final minutes. It was a crucial three points for us.

“The coach had told us we needed these three points from the first match and that is what we did,” Deo said.

A disappointed Nasinu coach said it was hard luck for his team to lose the opening match.

“It would have been good to have at least a point from our first match, but it was unfortunate to lose out in the end. Nevertheless, we have made a few changes and there are more players yet to come in so hopefully we can improve come our next game,” Shivam said.

Teams:

Tailevu Naitasiri: Jason Rokovucake, Vilimoni Baleilevuka, Josua Raqamu, Sairusi Qiolevu, Mohammed Naizal, Sikeli Tuiloma, Abhishek Deo, Jone Naraba, Rusiate Qio, Epeli Valevou, Asaeli Tunidau

Nasinu: Viliame Rakuro, Nasoni Mareke, Ravikash Krishna, Vilikesa Sowani, Nathan Hussain, Taniela Rakariva, Jasnit Vikash, Geary Kubu, Jonetani Buksh, Douglas Willietien, Semi Tabaiwalu

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